As readers of this blog will already know, I love Hermione – the idea behind her creation, her physical existence and much more – the spirit and love she engenders. Hermione is, of course, a painstakingly accurate recreation of the ship that took Lafayette to the Americas in the War of Independence – her participation helping the rebels win a victory which saw the colony slip away from British control.
She followed in her ancestor’s sea miles across to the East Coast and wowed America – once again – before heading for home and Rochefort, the sleepy naval dockyard town which Hermione has brought to life once more. Revive it she certainly has, as the two day festival held to honour her clearly shows with even the Prime Minister coming along to greet her.
Re-enactors ruled the day, rising to the occasion with great style. Smiles, laughter and graceful promenading were the order of the day, culminating in a magnificent firework display after which the crowds good-humouredly made their way home.
What a welcome home for such an incredible ship. You too can now visit Hermione – best to book online at Hermione.com although a few tickets will be available at the dockyard every day. The maximum group size for tours is 18 people and there are two types available – one with a volunteer who travelled with her to America – the other with a re-enactor, dressed in period costume, telling what life would have been like on board when the original Hermione was in service.
Tours take 1:15 hours. Entrance ranges from 9 euros for adults, 5 euros for 6 – 15 youngsters – for a tour of the exhibition and workshop. Entrance prices rise to 16 euros (8 euros for 6 – 15 youngsters) to include a guided tour of Hermione herself. Children under 6 visit free for the exhibitions but cannot tour Hermione herself.
Contributor & Photographer: Sue Lowry
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